Hunting for abandoned places in Arkansas? You’re in the right place. Below are 12 of my favorite abandoned places throughout the state.
Abandoned Places In Arkansas
1. Rush Ghost Town
The property abutting the Buffalo National River contains old log cabins, vestiges of rock wall foundations, and once-upon-a-time homesteads. It’s difficult to believe that people could have lived in some of these regions when you go hiking in a remote area like this. Despite this, some of these locations were vibrant villages on heavily traveled highways in the 1800s.
The ghost town of Rush, a 1300-acre historic mining region that contains the houses, structures, streets, and mines of the Rush mining area, is one such hamlet worth visiting.
Zinc ore was discovered on Rush Creek in the 1880s, and people flocked to the area to make a claim along Rush Valley and Clabber Creek. By the 1890s, the mining boomtown had established itself, and a community of residences and businesses had sprung up near the Morning Star Mine, the area’s most notable mine. It was at its peak during World War I.
Several of the processing mills were demolished for salvage during World War II. When the post office shuttered in the 1950s, the town clung on. The last of the residents fled in the 1960s, leaving Rush to its ghosts and the pages of history.
The National Register of Historic Places now includes Rush. The National Park Service manages the remaining mines and buildings as part of the Buffalo National River. Despite its status, it’s still one of the best legal abandoned places in Arkansas to explore.
2. Eaker Air Force Base
Three miles northwest of Blytheville, Arkansas, lies this abandoned Air Force installation. Two-thirds of the 3,778 acres that make up the base have been abandoned. Blytheville’s airport is currently located on the main tarmac. It once housed nearly 3,000 service members and an entire fleet of B52 “BUFF” Stratofortresses from the Strategic Air Command. Swimming pools, tennis courts, a grocery store, a dental office, a nine-hole golf course, a theatre, various clubs, visitor centers, a gym, and on-base housing for military families were all available at Eaker Air Force Base
Currently, the base is primarily in a condition of deterioration. Local groups and legal entities, on the other hand, are always fighting to protect the basis. The majority of the Bombardment Wing, the 42nd Air Division, the 97th Air Refueling Squadron, the 97th Supply Squadron, the 97th Organizational Maintenance Squadron, the 820th Medical Group, and many others were all stationed at the facility. The Strategic Air Command was in charge of all of this.
3. Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium
The Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, located three miles south of Booneville, was founded in 1909. (Logan County). The sanatorium became the relocation hub for all white Arkansans with tuberculosis once it was fully operational. The facility treated almost 70,000 patients by the time it closed in 1973, and its main hospital, the Nyberg Building, became known for tuberculosis treatment around the world.
The last seven patients were discharged on February 26, 1973, and on March 13, the legislature passed Act 320, sanctioning the facility’s closure and handing jurisdiction over to the Board of Mental Retardation from the Department of Health. The Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium formally closed on June 30, 1973, and for the first time in more than sixty years, the front gates were left unlocked. The facility is now known as the Booneville Human Development Center and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Of all the abandoned places in Arkansas, the Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium is reportedly one of the most haunted spots in the entire state.
4. Dinosaur World
Did you know that before Jurrasic Park, there was a site called Dinosaur World in Arkansas in the 1970s? Regrettably, the theme park and all of its people are now extinct.
Dinosaur World’s only remnants are some old dinosaur structures that have been cloaked and covered in vines and forested forests from the surrounding area. It was a major tourist destination back then. Dinosaur World was decommissioned and abandoned in 2005 in Beaver, Arkansas.
Emmett Sullivan, the same guy who created the still-standing Christ of the Ozarks statue in Eureka Springs, constructed the life-like prehistoric statues.
The main entrance was burned down in 2011, and all that’s left of the more than a hundred dinosaur sculptures are a few fossilized bones and some unusual drone videos of what was once Dinosaur World. While there’s not much other than dinosaurs left, this still stands as one of the most unique abandoned places in Arkansas.
5. The Ozark Medieval Fortress
Travelers in rural Arkansas will soon come across a real stone castle rising on an Ozark mountainside, in what appears to be the most unlikely site to discover a European fortress. The Ozark Medieval Fortress, the brainchild of Michel Guylot, an amateur archaeologist with a passion for castle restoration, opened to the public in May of 2010.
The castle is being built on land provided by Solange and Jean-Marc Mirat and is being built by a full-time devoted team of 30 artisans with occasional volunteer aid. The project, which will be built using the techniques and tools used by castle builders in 13th century Europe, is not scheduled to be completed until 2030 – a twenty-year labor of love.
Tourists are welcome to come to the site and observe and question the artists as they go about their job. Rock is quarried, wood is chopped, and supplies such as rope and caulk for the stones are all obtained from the natural resources on-site, and great care is taken to ensure that everything is completed in the most realistic way possible.
Standing at the building site, you can hear chisels cutting stone, hammers, and axes molding wood, and the noises of the animals and men working on the site, but you won’t hear the sounds of contemporary technology.
6. Monte Ne Resort Ruins
William Hope Harvey designed and built Monte Ne as a health resort on the banks of Beaver Lake in the Ozark Mountains. Harvey was a financial theorist and even a candidate for the presidency of the United States at one point. The plan behind Monte Ne was ambitious and had the potential for success if tragedy and poor judgments had not played a role in the former town’s demise.
Before becoming a health resort, the land where Monte Ne was to be created had its own history. From the 1830s to the early 1900s, a grist mill, distillery, post office, and vineyard were all successfully managed. J.G. Bailey sold 325 acres of property and a cabin to William Harvey in 1900.
After Beaver Lake was formed in 1964, much of the town was flooded. When the lake is at its highest, few structures can be seen, but when the lake is at its lowest, more of the previous city can be seen. Missouri Row and Oklahoma Row were once the world’s tallest structures. Monte Ne was also the first in Arkansas to offer indoor swimming pools.
While there are certainly more exciting abandoned places in Arkansas, the Monte Ne Resort Ruins are still a cool place to visit if you’re in the area.
7. Roundtop Filling Station
The Pierce Oil Company built the Roundtop Filling Station in Sherwood (Pulaski County), which is now on the National Register of Historic Places, in 1936. Pierce Oil was one of the “baby Standards” established after the United States government ordered the dissolution of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company in 1911. Pierce owned and operated gas stations in Arkansas, Missouri, western Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico.
Wayne Ball, a local auctioneer and former station employee from his youth, auctioned off the Roundtop on Williford’s behalf in 1989. George E. Brown, a North Little Rock businessman, won the auction. Brown intended to rehabilitate the old facility; however, Brown died before this could happen, and his heirs donated the station to the City of Sherwood, which had annexed the region in 1975, in 1999.
For years, the monument sat derelict and was the victim of vandalism and theft. Becki Vassar, a former member of Sherwood City Council, lobbied for the station’s restoration in the mid-2000s, and it was eventually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
The Roundtop was featured in the 2010 film The Last Ride, directed by Arkansas native Harry Thomason and about Hank Williams Sr. Several of the Williams character’s sequences were shot at Roundtop, including his teenage chauffeur, Silas, and his love interest.
Of all the abandoned places in Arkansas, the Roundtop Filling Station is one of the most iconic places on our list.
8. Pepper Sauce Alley
East Calico (the original and oldest area of what is now Calico Rock) began as a trading stop for French traders and trappers traveling the White River, as did many other early 1800s settlements.
Numerous pubs sprouted up to cater to the itinerant population, and the area became home to a slew of thieves, vagabonds, and other troublemakers partaking in prostitution, brawling, knife and gun battles, and copious amounts of the local moonshine known as “Peppersauce.”
By the 1960s, the train no longer stopped in Calico Rock, and what municipal life remained was found west of Calico Creek, away from the town’s stores, craft shops, and famed “Peppersauce Alley.” However, about 20 structures from the once-bustling town still survive — empty and abandoned, some partially collapsed, some grown over, but all within Calico Rock’s city borders.
The rest of the city has moved on, but East Calico still has the old town jail, the defunct cotton gin, the empty funeral parlour, the empty lumberyard, electric plant, and telephone exchange, as well as all of the other establishments that once shaped the beating heart of this once-thriving river port.
9. The Savoy Hotel
In the heart of Bridgeport, there is an abandoned 13-acre building complex that comprises the Poli Palace, the Majestic Theater, and the Savoy Hotel, all of which were once magnificent edifices but are now empty and disintegrating structures inhabited by rats, vagrants, and… ghosts?
Mussoorie’s Hotel Savoy is a historic luxury hotel. The Savoy Hotel first opened its doors in 1902. It was designed in the English Gothic style. It is a five-star hotel that attracts travelers from all over the world. The hotel is also well-known for its architectural architecture, making it one of the most sought-after accommodations in Mussoorie.
During the British administration in India, British officials used to stay in this guesthouse. Not only is the hotel notable for its architecture and designs, but it is also said to be haunted by a ghost. Some visitors have reportedly observed unexplained happenings at the property. This hotel has numerous horror stories associated to it, yet there is no doubt that it is one of the most stunning architectural masterpieces by British architects.
The Savoy Hotel first opened its doors in the summer of 1902, and it grew in popularity with British officers and civil officials. Many renowned people have stayed at the hotel, including Jawaharlal Nehru, the Dalai Lama, Indira Gandhi, and others.
This hotel has been owned by various people and hotels during the course of its long history. The hotel is now owned by Fortune Hotels, which runs a hotel network. Because it is one of the oldest structures, it has been subjected to numerous earthquakes and storms, but it has retained its elegance and refinement. With its rich historical heritage, the hotel is also known for immoral activities and ghosts, which many guests claim to have seen.
10. Mountainaire Hotel
The Mountainaire Hotel Historic District is made up of two Art Moderne structures that were built as a hotel along Park Avenue in Hot Springs in 1947. (Garland County). On February 11, 2004, the district was designated on the National Register of Historic Places, however, it is now abandoned and deteriorating.
Hot Springs’ thermal waters drew visitors for decades before a good road system was built to connect the city to other villages. Tourists could more easily visit the springs to seek healing for medical ailments after the paving of what is now Arkansas Highway 5 between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Hot Springs in 1925.
When the highway arrived in Hot Springs, it was renamed Park Avenue, and a variety of businesses catering to vacationers sprouted up along the boulevard. The majority of these enterprises were restaurants and automobile courts, which were later followed by motels.
The buildings of the Mountainaire Hotel are mirror reflections of one another and face Park Avenue to the north. The buildings are four stories tall and made of white brick and clay tile, with concrete floors and asphalt walls. The buildings are built on a modest rise above the roadway and are reached through a double set of concrete steps. There are several sidewalks in front of and between the two buildings, as well as a parking area in the back.
The towers, designed by Alvin Albinson, were supposed to anchor a five-building complex, but only two were constructed. Albinson relocated from Florida to Hot Springs in the 1940s to capitalize on the brisk tourist traffic, and he ran the hotel for about twenty years. Alvin I. (Al) Albinson Jr., his son, transformed the towers into apartments and then into a nursing facility. The property had been abandoned and left to degrade by the mid-1990s. It is still in private hands and was most recently sold in 2016.
Despite these changes in ownership, the hotel’s fate remains uncertain. This spot is personally one of my favorite abandoned places in Arkansas, so check it out if you’re in the area.
11. Dugan-Stuart Building
With the remodeled first-floor stores, the DuganStuart building is a testament to early twentieth-century design. This building, which was built in 1904 for four at-home medical offices, features two identical splayed wings and a huge cornice with dentils and modillions.
Take note of the gorgeous terra-cotta that adorns the top corners. In the 1940s, the medical offices were turned into a hotel. Each wing’s windows are positioned in groups of three, with banded brick making posters between them. Fifth-floor windows and paintings, with round windows in between, were used as a hiding by most criminals in the 1920s.
Until the structure was turned into a hotel, some of the upper levels were large open areas. Take a look at the ceiling in some of the top floor images. The initial decoration can be seen in the steel beams just below where the ceiling begins. Each door handle is etched with the initials “D&S” (for Dugan & Stuart) and retains the majority of the 1940’s hotel décor. From light fixtures to toilets, tiling, and elevator doors, there is something for everyone.
The lower levels have previously housed numerous incidental shops, but the property has since been bought and undergone substantial renovations.
12. Chickasawba Mound
The Chickasawba Mound isn’t like most abandoned places in Arkansas, but we still believe it deserves a spot on this list. The mound is all that’s left of a small Nodena Phase town dating back to the 16th century. The site is one of the best-preserved sites of its kind in the entire state.
The mound got its name from the Chief Chickasawba – leader of the Shawnee tribe who is said to be buried beneath mound of grass.
While the site is more of a hit with archeologists than explorers, it’s still interesting to see how time and nature take everything back. If it wasn’t for the large burial mound, all traces of this small Native American settlement would be lost forever.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Arkansas, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.